“Diabesity” and Insulin Resistance – What you NEED to know

Quick mini quiz for you:

  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you crave sugar and refined carbohydrates?
  • Do you have high blood pressure?
  • Has your doctor told you your blood sugar is a little high?
  • Do you have a family history of diabetes, heart disease or obesity?

 If you answered YES to any one of these questions, this months blog is for you (or your family members).

Blood sugar. Obesity. Overweight. Heart disease.

These topics can bring up very heated conversation that can cause up a lot of emotions in people. This month I want to tackle a topic that is near and dear to my heart because it is something that loved ones of mine struggle with.

“Diabesity”

Diabesity is the continuum of health problems ranging from mild insulin resistance and being overweight to obesity and diabetes. It is the single biggest global health epidemic of our time and one of the leading causes of heart disease, dementia, stroke, cancer and premature death in the world.

It is also 100 percent preventable and curable.

Insulin resistance: The real cause of diabesity

Insulin resistance is an inability to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. High insulin levels (which are rarely checked by many doctors – they focus more on blood sugar or glucose levels) are the first sign of a problem with insulin resistance. The higher your insulin levels are, the worse your insulin resistance. This is because your cells are slowly become resistant or numb to the effects of insulin.

But first, what is insulin?

Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that when secreted, helps bring glucose or sugar into your cells from your bloodstream. Then, the glucose can be used as fuel for your body and to run all the processes required for you to be alive. Obviously it is very important.

If you have more sugar in your body then is required, insulin helps to store that sugar in the form of fat. High levels of insulin tell your body to gain weight around the belly giving people that apple-shape over time.

With our diets full of sugars and refined carbohydrates, this becomes a problem. More sugar equals more insulin which leads to more fat storage, a possible fatty liver and blood sugar problems because more glucose is left circulating in the bloodstream. This will lead to more inflammation, oxidative stress and downstream effects like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low HDL, high triglycerides, poor sex drive, infertility, thickening of the blood, increased risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s and depression.

Please also know that nearly all people who are overweight (which includes 70% of adult Americans) already are “pre-diabetic” and have significant risks of disease and death. They just don’t know it yet. But, people who also aren’t overweight can have this problem as well. These people may have been labelled “skinny fat” but the problem is they are underlean (not enough muscle) instead of overweight and they may have a little extra weight around the middle or belly fat.

The first thing that we need to accomplish is to make our body NOT be insulin resistant.

How can you do that?

If you answered yes to any of the questions from the mini-quiz, I want you to really consider if you need to make a change in your life when it comes to your lifestyle.

Start with a 4 week challenge for yourself.

1) First eat real food

Real food has one ingredient. Broccoli. Chicken. Eggs. Carrots.

This means avoid:

  1. Refined sugars and sweeteners
  2. Remove all flour products (including gluten free – they can even be worse in some cases) which means no bagels, bread, rolls, wraps, pasta, etc
  3. All processed food – If you didn’t make it, or you didn’t watch someone make it from scratch, its processed.

Please eat protein and fat. Fat does not make you fat. Without enough of the right types of fats, your biology breaks down at the very root. Fats makes up your cell walls and if you don’t have enough, you will not have the building blocks you need for your cells, which is needed for optimal insulin function and blood sugar control.

2) Get some activity that is fun for you

Just start moving more – even if it is only 15 minutes more a day (i.e. go for a walk) this can help a lot.

3) Relax your mind

Get enough restful sleep. Practice deep breathing and work on letting go of stress in your life.

Pick one of these three categories (or do all three if you want to see the biggest change) and do it for 4 weeks. If you want more information or a more outlined plan, I highly recommend The Blood Sugar Solution by Mark Hyman.

3 Myths about obesity and diabetes that keep us sick:

Myth 1: Diabetes is genetic.

  • The genetic code is not changing, but the rates of diabetes is growing at a rapid pace.
  • What is passed down to our children is how we eat, how much we exercise, how we manage stress, our exposure to environmental and food-based toxins. These are the environmental stressors that are passed down from generation to generation.

Myth 2: Diabetes is not reversible

  • 100% not true (as long as we are not talking about Type 1 diabetes even though there are still changes that can be made but it will be different for people diagnosed with type 1)
  • If caught in the early stages and treated aggressively through lifestyle intervention and nutritional support, diabetes can be reversed. Research has even shown that later-stage diabetes can be improved as well.

Myth 3: Pre-diabetes isn’t a problem until it turns into full-blown diabetes

  • If you are pre-diabetic, you already have a problem with your blood sugar… it should be a wake up call to pay attention and that something needs to change.
  • Pre-diabetes is an earlier stage of diabesity that carries with it nearly all the risks of diabetes and it can still kill you before you ever get to diabetes through heart attacks, strokes and even cancer.

Good luck and let me know if you have questions or want to be referred to someone who can help you.

Dr. Sarah